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2011 Speewa Easter Hoedown PART THREE

May 2, 2011

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  Sunday 24th April 2011

A few bedraggled and weary dancers appeared with bleary eyes for their sausages egg and tomatoes and as time passed, more and more dancers dragged themselves in for a heart starter (coffee) and their  breakfast.  Most had just about revived from the night before when at 2.00 PM, Peter put on his torture session (sorry workshop).  At one stage I counted 5 squares up, however, the weary bodies could not keep up and we ended up with three squares at around 5.00 PM. 

 Peter the instructor (do as I say or suffer the consequences?)

 Peter started of with zoom and cast off three quarters;  sounds simple, just try them from all the positions we had to do them from (thankfully Peter forgot the standing on ones head position).  We then looked at left hand spin the top which yours truly stuffed up the night before spin chain through and then looked at ping pong circulate with right and left hand waves and in left and right positions.  Finally Peter did his “with agony” thing, which means you do the move, do a u-turn back and repeat the move.  Knowing the definitions and being precise regarding placement and facing direction does help a bit.  I noticed that spin chain through with agony gives the caller time for a cup of tea and a smoke.  A great workshop Peter,  but why is it that those who really need to be there are those who don’t go?

 I missed the kids Easter egg hunt which took place whilst the workshop was on.  Then it was a mad rush to get showered and ready for the evening dance.  We sat down to another magnificent meal prepared by Des’s team.  A poultry meal, it was positively fowl, the chicken was stuffed (with a rosemary sprig for garnish in recognition of the forthcoming Anzac day).  The main course was followed by some delicious cheese cake and pastry desserts, then after a very brief wait we were all back on the floor from 7.30 PM until 11.00PM.

 The dance was well attended with 8 squares up for most of the night and many more sitting out around the perimeter of the dance floor or in the adjoining dining room.  Once again we had quite a few guest callers (4) but I can’t name them all, so I won’t name any.  By 11.00 PM we were really weary, they certainly pack a lot of dancing into the three days.  If you count the hours available to square dance and divide by the usual length of a club’s weekly dance, we did 6 - 7 weeks dancing in 3 days.  These days that’s easily $37.00 worth of dancing!  For the other $35.00 you get a boat cruise two evening meals and a bonfire banquet by the river - that’s extremely good value!

This is what square dancing is supposed to be “fun for the whole family”.

 Happy kids on the dance floor make the whole event worth while

How can we get this family atmosphere back into our dance halls?

At the end of the dance, Des got up and thanked his team of volunteers and Peter for their support and said that putting on the event was getting to be too much for him (I know he had a hard time this year when some of the helpers did not turn up).  Des confirmed that next year would be on, but, 2012 WILL BE THE LAST SPEEWA EASTER HOEDOWN and he wants the event to be a BIG success and to go out with a BANG!  Then,  trestle tables were pulled out onto the dance floor and loaded with hot and cold food for a sumptuous supper.  Once again, content, we dragged ourselves off to bed in the early hours of the morning.

 Monday 25th April 2011

Anzac Day;  Helen, Heather and I were up very early and left at 5.30 AM for the dawn service in Swan Hill.  At 6.00AM a group of military personnel marched up to the shrine of remembrance in the main street of Swan Hill, where three soldiers silently stood in the traditional eyed down stance.   It was a succinct and moving service which allowed us to reflect on the sacrifice made by our past diggers and to put into perspective why we live in a society where we can have a day off work.  The last post played by a single bugler always brings a lump in my throat.  We all laid a single poppy at the shrine to the mournful strains of a Scottish piper.

 Then it was back to our caravan for a cup of tea and a bit of shuteye, before hauling ourselves into the dining room for our last group breakfast.  Lots of farewells were said with many more see you next year.  About half the caravans left that day, others decided to stay on for one more night.

And so it was that evening that about 30 people gathered with Des, Bruce and his family round an open fire for some road kill and a glass of alcoholic beverage or two (or three or four or “say no more”) a bit of a chin wag and other frivolities.  Road kill is a term used by Des to describe the leftovers which were made into a bit of a bubble and squeak thing (or rumbledy-thump if your Scottish) with chicken pieces mixed in.  This was accompanied by salads and other delicacies prepared by the campers from their leftovers, plus, jacket potatoes cooked on the open fire with damper, hot roasted chestnuts, toasted hot cross buns and the compulsory toasted marshmallows.  We all had a wonderfully entertaining evening, much of the entertainment provided free gratis by Paul v Des.

Jacket potatoes in the fire and chestnuts roasting on top

Bruce’s son keeping warm

Nice and warm – relaxed round the fire

Paul and Des, our entertainment for the night

 Tuesday 26th April 2011

There was some early morning crashing and banging as people packed up there caravans.  After many hugs kisses and farewells, the remaining caravans started to depart at around 9.00AM.  Bob and Margaret who were the first to arrive were also the last to depart just after us at around 10.30 AM.   Des vowed he was going to lie down and rest for a couple of days … after he had had breakfast.

Des’s farewell hug (one size fits all).

 The Speewa Easter Dance is indeed a very special Australian event and it will be sad to see it go.  Square dancing owes a lot to Des Devereaux so let’s give him something back.  Let us make Des’s wish come true and make his last dance a real humdinger, come along and have one hell of a Farewell Speewa party.  Des’s last Speewa Easter Hoedown will commence on Friday 6th April, thru to and including Sunday 8th April 2012.  If you think you would like to come along, register you interest now by using the contact form at the top of Square-dance Magazine home page.  I will make sure your information is passed on to Des & Bruce.

Peter you must now work on a SLOW call to the song  “Save the Last Dance for Me” and get weary legs Des and his trusty team up on the floor for a symbolic final square (a bit like a bridal waltz).  Then we can all show them the appreciation they truly deserve.

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